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The World As I Have Found It / Sequel to Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl By Mary L. Day Characters: 8479

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"'Tis a little thing

To give a cup of water; yet its draught

Of cool refreshment, drained by fervid lips,

May give a shock of pleasure to the frame

More exquisite than when nectarian juice

Renews the life of joy in happiest hours."

In order to reach Montgomery I took passage in one of the high-pressure steamers of the Alabama river, and during the two days and nights of the trip I was surrounded by a throng of sympathizing, interested passengers, whose tender tones and gentle touch was as a cool, refreshing draught to parched lips, a sweet morsel to the tongue, for human hearts ever hunger and thirst for affection. How utterly unendurable would be this life, with its desert wastes and hot siroccos, but for the sweet, verdant spots dotting the sandy sea, whence spring the "fountains of perpetual peace" and issue the healing waters.

These loving ones surrounded me as I sat busily occupied with my bead work, and not only delighted and entertained with their curious questions and familiar chat, but freely bought my books and fifty dollars worth of baskets, while they would doubtless have doubled the amount had not this exhausted my little store.

As we steamed in sight of Montgomery a gentleman came into the cabin and requested me to make for him eight of the handsomest bead baskets before we landed; and, seeing an amused and incredulous smile upon my face, he said: "You work so dexterously and so rapidly that I did not realize that my demand was unreasonable." Explaining to him that it would require eight hours of the closest application to accomplish that amount of work, he apologized and left me. Nor did this specimen of the "genus homo" evince any unusual ignorance of woman's work, whose endless routine and diversified drudgery ofttimes require the patience of a Job and the wisdom of a Solomon. In the labyrinth of domestic entanglement more is needed than the silken clue of Ariadne, and the vexed question of domestic economy requires the unerring skill of the diplomatist, the subtle tact of the politician, and the sure strength of the statesman. The "Poet of Poets" has shown his appreciation of the character and life of woman in the following lines:

From woman's eyes this doctrine I derive;

They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;

They are the books, the arts, the academies,

That show, contain and nourish all the world.

After a pleasant and successful visit to Montgomery we went via the Mobile Railroad to Evergreen, a little town fitly named from its deeply shaded evergreen surroundings. We reached this little hamlet at two o'clock in the morning, and those who are familiar with the cold and penetrating dampness of a southern night, even in mid-summer, could realize our condition and desire for rest and warmth, and know something of our disappointment at finding the one poor little hotel of the town without a vacant room. Seeking the office for a resting place, we found the case equally hopeless, for congregated within its narrow limits were men, women and children, every one of whom was stretched in various attitudes upon the floor, as peacefully enfolded in the arms of Morpheus, and, perchance, as sweetly dreaming as if resting upon beds of down and pillowed upon fine linen and gossamer lace.

Sleep is indeed to such "tired nature's sweet restorer," and to those whose healthy bodies and unambitious natures know no perturbation it is balmy and refreshing.

Turning from the unconscious, slumbering group for one friendly face, we were greeted by Major Lanier, of the Confederate Army, whose manner and tone not only betokened the gentleman, but whose acts of kindness evinced the true and chivalrous heart so characteristic of the southern character. After failing in repeated efforts to find us a room, he gave us his blankets and great coat, and all through the dreary watches of the night fed the fire with wood, which with one hand he chopped, while with the other he fought off the rabid attacks of fierce and barking dogs, which persistently assailed him. Had we been distinguished ladies, or had there been any probability of the gallant major being praised, complimented, or in any way preferred for this act of gallantry,

it might have been less appreciated, but it was an act of purely chivalrous courtesy to two strange ladies in humble position, and his only reward was our poor thanks and the approval of his own generous heart. It must have had its comic side, too, to see a major of the regular Confederate service, who had done battle on the field where glory was to be won, groping in the dismal dark of the night and running the risk of being severely hurt, possibly of being killed, by dogs, practicing war with one hand, and dispensing a noble if not an ostentatious charity with the other.

We had been promised the room opening into the office as soon as it was vacated, and at the first streak of coming dawn the Major stationed himself near the door, listening for the slightest sound; and when from the carefully guarded chamber the faintest rustle came he would jocularly exclaim: "Ladies, prospects are brightening!" and so he helped us to while away the weary hours until we secured the promised room and bed, where we rested until noon.

When we arose from this refreshing rest we found that the session of court had brought this throng, and we were soon surrounded with visitors, who kept us constantly conversing and almost incessantly weaving baskets for their amusement. These people not only bought large stores of my work, but their talk sent crowds of people from far and near, all of whom made purchases of some kind. Such was the interest of every member of the bar and every attendant upon court that the four days I spent there completely exhausted me, physically and mentally.

Finding there were no other important towns beyond Evergreen, I returned to Montgomery and repaired to Savannah, Georgia, where I was treated with the most genial generosity, and should have been repaid for a trip to that place in a visit to its cemetery, whose reputation has been spread throughout the length and breadth of our land, and whose strange, sad beauty is so infinitely beyond the conceptions of imagination, but which-

"To be remembered

Needs but to be seen."

Its grounds are densely grown with trees of live oak, whose huge and spreading branches, seeming to bear the size and strength of a century's growth; with the dark, drooping moss, which, as it mingles its weird, fantastic drapery with the bending, swaying, weeping willow, seems like a pall for the graves hidden in its sombre shades; while the millions of birds which dwell therein lull their warbling notes to the measure of a low funeral song; and every sound of Nature's many-voiced music seems to murmur a requiem for the dead. As I sat subdued and listening, the low, rustling sound of the wind seemed as a sigh of sorrow escaping the breast of the bereaved, and I could picture in the far away land of Palestine that sacred spot which had so often been described to me, even the "Church of the Holy Sepulchre."

This most benevolent city of Georgia, without solicitation, presented me passes to Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Fla. The former was at that time quite an unimportant place, but has since become a popular resort.

While in Tallahassee I met with great sympathy and kindness from Governor Rood, who bought a book and handed me five dollars. When change was tendered to him he quietly and respectfully declined, and said with his usual delicacy that it was worth that much to him.

The Sheriff of the county was also very generous. Wishing to present me with ten dollars, and fearing to wound me by so doing, he ordered that amount of bead-work.

Tallahassee was certainly the most quiet Capital City I had ever visited, resting in its placid loveliness apparently undisturbed by the usual wrangle of legislation.

We returned via Live Oaks, at which place we encountered one of those severe thunderstorms known only to tropical lands, and in which the angry "war of elements" strikes terror to the hearts of those unschooled to it. All through its thundering and lightning, its wind and torrent, I was in such a state of nervous excitement, that when the last lurid light faded, the last crash was echoed by a low reverberating moan and died away, I gave one deep sigh of intense relief and sank exhausted from the reaction.

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